Experiences have a substantial impact on the development of our minds.
These occurrences include our families’ values, our community’s beliefs, the language of the country we reside in, and all the events in our life from birth until death.
It becomes a complex mix of factors that can lead to different outcomes depending on the persons involved.
While I spoke about how trauma can impact our lives in another article, it is critical to understand that the absence of such pain also changes the trajectory of existing. Those who come from well-adjusted and stable environments tend to get better results.
Adverse child experiences (ACE) cause an increased risk of many issues. ACEs are traumatic experiences that occur to an individual before age 18.
According to Felitti et al. (1998), “Persons who had experienced four or more categories’ of childhood exposure, compared to those who had experienced none, had 4 to 12-fold increased high risks for alcoholism, drug abuse, depression and suicide attempt” (p. 245).
In addition, 2 to 4 times increase in smoking, poorer self-rating of health, a more significant number of sexual partners, and sexually transmitted disease. Also, 1.4 to 1.6 times more likely to severe obesity and physical inactivity (Felitti et al., 1998).
Overall, the study also suggested an increased risk of chronic disease (cancer, liver disease, lung disease, etc) in adulthood for those who endure ACEs (Felittie et al., 1998).
The study displays those who do not endure traumatic experiences, their risk level of a multitude of issues decreases significantly. It does not guarantee that nothing wrong will happen to them, but the statistics detail a pattern we all should acknowledge.
It is also crucial to state that individuals who face trauma in their youth will not necessarily have problems in adulthood.
People can often overcome terrible events and live very prosperous lives. The point of this is to emphasize the idea that what happens to us shapes how we conduct our lives, for better or worse.
As a side note, I dealt with 3 ACE’s and my life has turned out okay.
However, I would be remiss if I did not say those incidents significantly impacted how I view the world. Those issues also were probably the catalyst for some of my anger problems earlier in life, but I was able to survive that in the long run.
While life will deal us a set of cards, it ultimately comes down to how we play our hand.
This study serves as a warning to attempt to prevent as many ACEs as possible for future generations. Also, it can signify an understanding for those who have dealt with traumatic childhoods and encounter lingering pain in adulthood.
Our brain gets shaped by the environments we are in; we must take care to develop the space we want for ourselves and those we love.
Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D.F., Spitz, A.M., Edwards, V., Koss, M.P., & Marks, J.S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household Dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245-258.
Vertis Williams is a Positive Habits Life Coach and a Mindfulness Trainer. He is a regular presenter at employee and team-development events. Contact him to request more info on his Workshops or on his Coaching Services! Click HERE to Request a Complimentary Habit Coaching Session!